Villanova loss: The Single Bullet FG Theory

06:39 Cholis Back 0 Comments


The Zapruder Film of Temple football. Don't look, Ethel.

I will always support the program, me and the 15,000 die-hards. But I won't sugarcoat the truth. I just won't.
I haven't been in the mood to post on any of the message boards recently.
I'm in deep mourning.
Thirty years of losing, then being sold that this year would be different, then losing to a 1AA team, will do that to an individual.
I don't think Al Golden understood the importance of this game to Temple, its current students, alumni and fan base.
I don't think Al Golden understood the intense dislike Temple people have for Villanova people.
I don't think Al Golden understood if you lose this game, you lose an entire fan base (at least the much larger soft part of it, countless thousands of people who could have pushed our average past 30K) for a whole season. That's shy of beating Penn State, which, after that latest brain cramp, is just not going to happen.
In many ways, this was a program-killer. When the story of this program is written, it could include a chapter on redemption, about a win in front of 106,000 people at Penn State that started something big or it could begin and end with five turnovers.
The Zapruder Film of Temple football could be that bullet-to-the-head field goal that we allowed by playing a prevent defense in the final seconds.
Call it The Single Field Goal Theory.
I will always support the program, me and the 15,000 die-hards.
But I won't sugarcoat the truth.
I just won't.
The plain truth is me and the 15,000 die-hards are not enough to keep it running.
We are running out of "next years" because decisions on things like conference affiliations are being made now and will largely be determined by attendance.
You need big wins to fuel the attendance engine.
You need to protect your own house.
Central Michigan, Northern Illinois, Kent, Fake Miami, just ain't going to cut it.
Not in this market.
That's why the Villanova game was so important.
Play the game, Al, but win the game.
As Christopher "Mad Dog" Russo used to rant to Mike Francesa on WFAN when those two were the No. 1 tandem in all of talk radio, "Win The Game, Mikey ... WIN ... THE ... GAME!!!"
Win the game, Al.
WIN ... THE ... GAME!
OK, I understand about the minus-4 turnover ratio. I understand all of that.
But Al Golden could have done things proactively to turn that stat around.
That's why I'll never understand why our linebackers weren't unleashed on Villanova. Blitz left, blitz right, blitz up the middle.
There is no doubt in my mind if the blitz was a big part of our defensive package, we would have been able to put Whitney down 10 times and not just five. We might have jarred a couple of balls loose in Villanova territory. We might have scored a defensive touchdown or two.
Every one of our linebackers is faster, significantly faster, than Villanova quarterback Chris Whitney. There is no doubt in my mind if the blitz was a big part of our defensive package, we would have been able to put Whitney down 10 times and not just five. We might have jarred a couple of balls loose in Villanova territory. We might have scored a defensive touchdown or two.
We WOULD have won the game. There's no doubt in my mind.
Put him on his ass, hit him enough times, and watch that turnover ratio and field position swing in our favor.
This is not second-guessing. It's first-guessing.
Page down to a post or two below.
There it is in bold typeface with a gold background posted prior to the game: TEMPLE'S NO. 1 PRIORITY SHOULD BE GETTING TO THE QUARTERBACK. I guess I didn't make that big or bold enough.
I was buttonholed by an older gentleman, I'll call him Joe, on the way out.
He was walking with another older gentleman.
The other guy told him, "Don't worry, Joe. We've got 11 games left to play."
Joe was inconsolable.
"I don't care about those other games. This is the game I wanted to win. You can have all the Akrons and Northern Illinois you want. This is the game I wanted. I'm not coming back."
"I hear you, bro," I said.
"Then you understand," Joe said, nodding his head vigorously. "You understand."
Joe isn't alone.
The sad truth is that you can lose to Penn State, go 10-2 and win the MAC and a good chunk of Philadelphia will say, "Yeah, but they couldn't beat Villanova. The MAC sucks. Who cares?"
I care, but I doubt anyone other than the die-hards care and that's why this loss was a program-killer in many ways.
We've already lost our house.
All we have left is the car.
Anyone want to roll the dice for double-or-nothing with Penn State?

Plenty of good seats now available: